• 1912 September 22
    (b.) -
    2011 September 02


A German physicist, he was born in Aachen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The focus of his research was the field of semiconductor research. His best-known work is the first functional "European" transistor, which he developed and patented together with Heinrich Welker in the vicinity of Paris in 1948, at the same time and independently from the Bell Labs engineers. He completed his studies in Mathematics, Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Nuclear Physics and Solid-State Physics at the Technical University of Aachen with a degree in Applied Physics. In addition, he studied Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at the University of Geneva. He received his Ph.D. in 1950 from ?cole Normale Sup?rieure (ENS) Paris. In 1939 he joined the Telefunken research laboratory in Berlin. At that time it became obvious that the miniaturization of vacuum tubes had met a technical limit and that alternative solutions had to be sought using solid state circuits and principles of the previous transistor inventions of Julius Edgar Lilienfeld, Oskar Heil, Walter Schottky and Robert Wichard Pohl. Because of the massive air raids on Berlin in 1943, the Telefunken laboratory was moved to the Cisterian abbey in Lubiąż (Leubus) Silesia, where he focused on the improvement of the cm-wave (SHF) receiver sensitivity. In 1944, as the Russian army closed in, the site and most of its equipment was abandoned and the operation was transferred to Thuringia. Later he taught Physics and Mathematics in Wabern near Kassel and gave lectures at the Aachen university. He was also invited to build a semiconductor diode plant for Compagnie des Freins & Signaux Westinghouse in Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris. At the same time as the American researchers and independently, the German researchers he and Heinrich Welker developed the first operational "French transistor" at Compagnie des Freins & Signaux Westinghouse in Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris during the years 1945 to 1948. They filed their first transistor patent application on August 13, 1948. On May 18, 1949, this European invention coined as the "Le Transistron" was presented to the public. In 1951/1952, he founded Intermetall in D?sseldorf, the world's first company, which offered diodes and transistors. He was awarded with: the ?Life Fellow IEEE?; Member emeritus New York Academy of Sciences; and Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor, Eduard Rhein Foundation, 2008. Among his publications are In April 2001, "Erlebnisse eines deutschen Physikers und Ingenieurs von 1912 bis Ende des Jahrhunderts". Der Fernmelde-Ingenieur. 4/01, 5/01 (in one volume): 1?109. ISSN?0015-010X; In September 2002 "Von der Radartechnik zur modernen Kommunikationstechnik". Tele-Kommunikation aktuell: TKA. 9/02, 10/02 (in one volume): 1?59. ISSN?1619-2036; With Kai Handel (1999-06-29). "Anf?nge der Halbleiterforschung und -entwicklung. Dargestellt an den Biographien von vier deutschen Halbleiterpionieren.", PhD thesis RWTH Aachen; and With Armand Van Dormael, 2009, "Biographies: Herbert F. Matar?". IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 31 (3): 68?73. doi:10.1109/MAHC.2009.38. Among the more than 80 patents he has filed are: US 2552052H. F. Matar?: Push-pull converter of the crystal type for ultra-short waves? filed in France on May 23, 1947; FR 1010427H. F. Matar?/H. Welker/Westinghouse: Nouveau syst?me cristallin ? plusieurs ?lectrodes r?alisant des effects de relais ?lectroniques? filed on August 13, 1948; and US 2673948H. F. Matar?/H. Welker/Westinghouse: Crystal device for controlling electric currents by means of a solid semiconductor, French priority date August 13, 1948. The final 20 years of his life he split time between his homes in H?ckelhoven, Germany and Malibu, California.
  • Date of Birth:

    1912 September 22
  • Date of Death:

    2011 September 02
  • Noted For:

    Co-developer of the first functional "European" transistor
  • Category of Achievement:

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